Last week, I opened up a two part series on Operating Systems and how they translate into potential real world scenarios. I picked apart a “closed” OS (like Apple’s walled garden), and what living a “closed” life looks like. Ultimately, it was counter productive to Jesus’ call for us to live our lives on mission for Him. This week I’ll pick apart my personal favorite kind of OS, the “open” model. Google’s Android (my favorite) is an “open” model. Again, I’ll take a brief moment to explain that what follows has no reflection on my fellow Android techies, but does have serious implications if we catch ourselves living live in an open OS. What is an open OS, and how does that translate into our practical theology? Stick around to find out.
Living in an Open OS
I love the variety there is among the different devices running android. Need a low-end phone for your entry level parent or child? Grab a Moto G. Want the latest and greatest hardware with extra features baked in? Go with the HTC One M8 or Galaxy S5. There’s an android for everyone, and that’s because it’s an open OS.
That means that anyone can view and modify the source code to Android’s base and get creative. Each manufacturer has their own “skin” over top of pure, vanilla Android. Samsung has TouchWiz. HTC has Sense. Oppo has ColorOS. Each comes with different software flavors for a wide range of users.
Those who live in an open OS are more than likely to let good doctrine and theology take a backseat to accessibility and flair. You’ll share your faith with co-workers, but you won’t talk much about sin and it’s consequences. Who wants to hear about that? Give them the good news, not the bad. You’ll “convert” some of your friends that don’t know Jesus, but their faith has no substance because they don’t really know what they’ve been saved from, only what they’re saved to. When trials come, they drop the faith like a hot potato since it has no enduring substance.
What Happens to Mission?
Lights, camera, sermon! People will come to an open OS church because it looks nice and has great music. Heck, maybe they’ll even bite concerning this Jesus. But there’s nothing there for new disciples who want to go deeper. Those that feel that intrinsic longing to grow closer to others and the Creator.
The gospel gets watered down and becomes less and less effective. Someone who really analyzes the teaching won’t find any substance at all. Just a lot of feel-goodery and glitter. The flock can’t defend doctrines like that of the Trinity, or give you good, solid advice about what to do when your mom’s on hospice. It’s too surface for real problems. Real life ruins the good vibes.
Here’s the point: stop caring more about what your church service looks like, and more about the souls of lost people. Brush up on good, strong doctrine. Share your faith and be able to defend it well. Care about the hard, real life situations, and deliver the powerful strength of the gospel in those scenarios.
What about you? Are you in a church like this? Do you know how to share your faith well? Have you gone deeper than the surface in your relationship with Jesus?
[original image via Carlos. Modified by Jesse Gruber]